Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger on Monday formally declined Gov. Rick Scott's offer to be considered as a possible lieutenant governor, becoming the second person on Scott's four-person short list to turn him down. Eslinger sent an email to his staff saying he was "flattered and honored" to be considered but that he will keep the job that he was first elected to in 1990. Last week, St. Johns County Superintendent of Schools Joseph Joyner also rejected Scott's offer.
But if he's hoping on getting that help from his lieutenant governor, Scott should prepare a back-up plan.
In March, an ugly scandal unfolded and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) was forced to abruptly resign from office. Though Carroll has not yet faced criminal charges, her company is accused of helping oversee a fraudulent veterans' charity and using gambling at Internet cafes to launder money.
The governor wasn't connected to the scandal, but it nevertheless left Scott looking for a new #2 in his administration, who can also serve as his running mate during the 2014 campaign. How's the search going? Not well (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).
In case this wasn't obvious, the Tampa Bay Times report added that the withdrawals from two of Scott's top contenders "create the perception that no one wants to be the governor's running mate in 2014."
Yes, actually it does. Indeed, the Miami New Times added, "It seems almost too obvious to state that a key requirement of being lieutenant governor is actually wanting to be lieutenant governor, but that's apparently something Gov. Rick Scott didn't take into account during his long, dragged-out search to replace disgraced ex-Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.... It's not exactly good news when the two lowest-profile candidates on the list announce they have no interest in the job."
The governor apparently had a short-list of four, which is now down to two -- a state senator and a county commissioner, both of whom are from the Tampa area.
If they also decline, I'd just note that Florida has a 7% unemployment rate, so presumably the Republican governor will find someone who's available and willing to stand alongside Rick Scott for the next five years.